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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We got a yellow lab puppy when he was about 9 weeks old. His name is Samson. He is now 15 weeks old and for the past 2 weeks he's been showing aggressive behavior, and it's been getting Worse! It seems whenever he wants attention, which is almost all the time, he'll come up to us and start barking.. if we don't respond right away he then starts nipping and barking. Then when we say NO! he goes into full on biting and growling and barking. This happens multiple times a day. I've researched the internet looking for ways to deal with this and have found many different suggestions.

We've tried hitting him on the nose, forcing him down to the ground and holding him there till he submits (which is a LONG drawn out process....), ignoring him (which just seems to make it worse because then he wants to bite more to get our attention), growling at him and saying NOOOOO! in a low voice, letting out a high pitched "OUCH!" (to mimic another puppy I suppose), and putting him in a bedroom with the door shut. NOTHING WORKS.

He sleeps in a certain bedroom each night, and he goes in the room each day when I'm at work (just 3 hours a day). This morning I went to put him in the bedroom and he jumped at me, growling, biting... the whole works.

I'm stunned that a sweet 15 week old puppy.. LAB puppy... would be capable of doing this and acting like this!!! We have 3 kids and one on the way so I REALLY need to get this under control ASAP. I've always had big dogs my whole life, German Shepards and Labs and I've NEVER encountered any of my other dogs to act like this. I'm not one to shy away from this behavior or be scared either... I always knew from day one that I (and my husband) are the "pack leaders" so to speak... but he doesn't seem to care.

He does this with everyone in the family, including the kids. PLEASE help, and tell me what to do to fix this!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. We play with him often, which usually consists of throwing the ball or whatever toy... playing fetch. We used to play tug-o-war, until I read that this will only fuel his behavior so we stopped that. We do go for walks and yes, we have a fenced in back yard. The kids play with him too, of course. We also have a neighboor who has a 3 year old chocolate lab, so they play together, and we have taken him to the dog park. he's not crate trained, and yes, he has nylabones and other chew toys... but he much seems to prefer our hands and feet. :)

My question is.... what do I do when he acts this way? Simply saying "NO Bite!" is a low tone does absolutely NOTHING (other than get him more riled up). Ignoring him does nothing. if i can't put him away in a room, what do i do to stop the behavior?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
so from what I gather... we are not supposed to show that we are angry at the dog, just to ignore him? I guess that is my problem. it's impossible to ignore him, becuase he's biting and doesn't stop! And then if I direct him to a chew toy, won't he think he is being rewarded? Like he's saying "oh, all I have to do is growl and bite and then I get a toy!" I actually have a video of this.. if there is a way I could post it to show you, maybe you could see and understand better.

UPDATE: I'm uploading the video to you tube and will post when it's complete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all so much for the tips and helping me feel not alone! I will most definately try all the methods you recommended.. and I'll update and let you know how it goes! :) Below is the link to the video we took a few days ago. As I'm watching it I'm seeing that this is the VERY tame version of what he does. In the video it does actually seem like he's kinda playing, but he does have times where he growls and shows teeth and bites. Plus my hubby is much bigger than I am and I think Samson thinks of my hubby more as an alpha then he does me.

the part that really worries me though is the growling and biting and snarling at us, and then this mornign when I tried to put him in his room he really went after me. It's like he thinks now his way of saying he doesn't want to do soemthign is just to lash out and bite. I'm not imagining this!!! I know this is not right and needs to be correted immediately. I'm alreayd on the hunt for dog trainers in the area.

Maybe I was nieve thinking we could do this on our own. Thinking "oh, I'm an experienced BIG dog owner.. I don't need a trainer." I've learned my lesson that's for sure! :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I posted with the video but it needs moderator approval so it'll be up soon I hope. But another question.... I get the whole "respond with a growl or yelp". speak dog to them. So we have a friend who has a golden retriever. Samson plays HARD with this dog. After a while the Golden gets annoyed and growls and kinda shows teeth... telling Samson enough is enough. So what does Samson do?? He barks, bites and growls more! I'm really going to work hard at this, but I know this puppy will not stop with a simple growl or low toned "NO BITE!". Really.... what do I do to stop the bad behavior immediately? I'm not willing to be a chew toy for this dog while he learns to stop biting and keep growling over and over and over again. (i'm not talking seperate instances... I'm talking during the same biting "session" which could last 5 min. or more!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
First off....thank you all sooooo much for the wonderful advice! Boy, did I need it. So I called a trainer referred by some friends and followed the advice he gave me (which mimicked most of yours) and just doing this for 1/2 a day he's changed and learned so much! So basically I've been doing the ignoring method. The instant he bites or growls I immediately either remove myself or him for a couple min. Then I come back and only start giving him attention if he's being good. I'm telling after only doing this 3 times he seemed to get it! We actually had an enjoyable day with him! Now at the end of the day I don't even have to leave if he starts up. I can ignore him and he stops biting, sits down nicely and stares at me....being a very good boy!!! I've been praising him like crazy all day....playing with him every time he comes and asks nicely ( instead of biting and barking). Im hoping that it'll be just a couple more days....a week at most and we will have no more biting!!!!! I was so stupid before...trying all these physical things. The trainer I talked to said our puppy was on the defensive with us. He's associated the word no with physical pain from me. So now every time we say no bite he I,immediately bites more and harder because he thinks he's gonna be pushed down by me. I feel awful. I'm the one who needed the training... :). Oh thank you guys so much. My hubby loved the advise as well. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Good morning!

Well after a good day yesterday we seem to be starting over from square one this morning. :( The first thing I did this morning when I got up was pet him and love on him and praise him... happy, happy, happy. But then as soon as I tried to walk past him in the hall way to get ready for work what does he do??? Growls at me, nips and bites. So I go in the bathroom and shut the door. Then after I get done brushing my teeth I go back out. He's standing by the door and as soon as I try to walk out he growls, nips and bites. So back in the bathroom I go!

Eventually after a couple more times my hubby puts him in the bedroom so i can get ready for work. I know that all he wants to do is play.. he's just woken up and has all this energy I imagine, but he needs to learn the right way to get our attention!!!

Seriously guys.... is this really normal???? He seems to turn into Cujo when he gets in these moods!!!

And another question. I don't want to be forced to play with him when HE wants to play. When I wake up I have to get myself and the kids ready, it's busy busy busy. How do I, or how does he, learn that we play on MY time. Is this something that will come as he gets older?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
but..... don't you sort of feel like you are 'giving in' to them? I know dogs need walks, and play, and mental stimulation and all that... but I want to do it on MY time, not theirs. I don't want to feel like I HAVE to do this or that or I'll be in trouble from my dog. What if I'm sick? What if I'm in the middle of something important? I'm having a baby in December.... what if I'm trying to feed the baby or deal with that and can't get to playing or walking right when HE wants it? I want him to be a good boy. If i say "go lay down" I want him to go lay down! Now, if I say that he gets PISSED and bites and growls at me! It seems that living this way would mean the dog is the Alpha, the one in control of my household and I do not like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Thank you. :) I'm so glad I found this forum. I'm looking forward to the day when I can give the same advice you guys gave me to another new puppy mom going through what I'm going through. And being able to laugh at myself! :) We will keep with what we are doing. Obviously he did learn something yesterday, so repetition is key. It's so funny.... if I'm sitting on the couch, and hubby is 'dealing' with samson by ignorning him if he's being bad... I watch from a distance how Samson reacts. Hubby is playing, Samson bites, hubby immediately turns around and ignores him. Samson sits and cocks his head at hubby, wondering what's going on and why he stopped playing... it's so cute to see his little brain work through this!!!!! :)

I'm so encouraged by what you all are telling me. And btw... we DID sign up for classes. It's a young dog class that teaches us how to get the correct behavior from our dogs. There is a basic and advance class, both are 6 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
When I got Kassa my neighbour said just as he thought his dog was doing well it went pear shape and he had to retrain her. By this time I really wondered why we had the silly idea of getting a pup. A trainer told me we often think they know what we want and stop the training when they don't know.


I am not saying do this as each dog and situation is different, but want to tell you what happened with us.


Sometimes things seem counter productive. Erns was untrained when I got him and misunderstood things so would bite or growl. I would tell him to get off the bed. He growled at me so I gave a more sterner command and pushed him. He got off so I praised him and often a treat. You would think what is wrong with her...treat for growling or biting.
I was praising for the good behaviour getting off the bed. It didn't take long before he got off the bed or other naughty thing as soon as I asked and didn't bite or growl at me.
~~~ If you say so... lol. that's just so hard for me to understand. I'm not saying your wrong, I'm saying I'm gonna try it and believe it when it works. :) You guys have all the experience with this. So far today has been decent. We've had to separate about 5 times today, but I do think he realizes something is changing because he has ALOT more moments of good behavior than bad. Earlier I was doing some "sit, stay, lay down" commands with treats. then when we were all done I was doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Pretty much that whole time he would follow me around then sit, then lay down. All while looking at me as if to say.. "do you see me? Do you see how good I'm being?" :) It was so cute. I stopped and petted and praised him with lots of "good boys!"

So speaking of praising/rewarding good behavior... what exactly does that mean? Does that mean play time? pet time? treat time? telling him good boy? all of the above?
 
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